Cuora Flora
FLORA
IHLOW

Herpetology Section
Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum A. Koenig
Adenauerallee 160
D-53113 Bonn
Germany

+49 (0)228 9122 245
f.ihlow@zfmk.de

CV

Education

  • 2005: Abitur (1.5)
  • 2006-2012: Studies in biology at Rheinische-Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
  • 2012: Diplom in Biology (1.1)
    Thesis entitled "Release study of the Elongated Tortoise Indotestudo elongata (Blyth, 1854) (Testudinidae) at the Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary in the Northern Plains of Cambodia with remarks on ecology and natural history" (1.0)

Memberships

  • Alexander-Koenig-Gesellschaft (AKG)
  • British Ecological Society (BES)
  • Gesellschaft für Biologische Systematik (GfBS)
  • IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group (TFTSG)
  • Societas Europaea Herpetologica (SEH)
  • Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA)

Grants

  • 2016: Conference travel grant from the Gesellschaft für Biologische Systematik (GfBS)
  • 2016: Conference travel grant from the Alexander-Koenig-Gesellschaft (AKG)
  • 2016: Conference travel grant from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
  • 2014: IDEAWild
  • 2014: British Chelonia Group (BCG)
  • 2014: Alexander-Koenig-Gesellschaft (AKG)
  • 2014: International Turtle Association (ISV)
  • 2014: Scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
  • 2014: Schildkröten-Interessengemeinschaft Schweiz (SIGS)
  • 2013: Alexander-Koenig-Gesellschaft (AKG)
  • 2013: Travel grant from the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA)
  • 2013: Conference travel grant from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
  • 2011: Schildkröten-Interessengemeinschaft Schweiz (SIGS)
  • 2011: Fund for Global Conservation of threatened Amphibians and Reptiles from the German Society for Herpetology and Herpetoculture (DGHT) in collaboration with the Zoological Society for the Conservation of Species and Populations (ZGAP)
  • 2009: Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB)
  • 2009: EAZA ShellShock Campaign trough the Turtle Conservation Fund (TCF)

Awards

  • 1st place, student poster competition, 17th annual meeting of the Gesellschaft für Biologische Systematik (GfBS), Munich, Germany
  • 1st place, student poster competition, 16th annual meeting of the Gesellschaft für Biologische Systematik (GfBS), Bonn, Germany

Field research experience

  • 2014: Collection of blood samples from Malayemys macrocephala and Malayemys subtrijuga in Thailand and Cambodia for a molecular genetic comparison.
  • 2014: Survey on movement of Malayemys subtrijuga at Tonlé Sap Lake in central Cambodia conducted in collaboration with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).
  • 2011: Tortoise survey in northern Cambodia conducted in collaboration with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB).
  • 2011: Survey on suitability of golf courses for freshwater turtle conservation in Cambodia.
  • 2011: Morphometric data collection on Elongated Tortoises Indotestudo elongata in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.
  • 2009-2010: Long term ecological field research on feeding ecology, movement pattern and thermal ecology of the Elongated Tortoise Indotestudo elongata in northern Cambodia, in cooperation with WCS and the ACCB.

Research assistant positions and teaching

  • 2014-present: Research associate for the INVAXEN (Invasive biology of Xenopus laevis in Europe) project (responsible for the computation of species distribution models)
  • 2013: Research assistant for basic courses in biology for medical sciences students at Rheinische-Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
  • 2013: Undergraduate course "Evolution and biodiversity of lower vertebrates" (lecture: Introduction to wildlife radio tracking and home range analyses techniques)
  • 2010-2012: Research assistant at the Institute for Evolutionary Biology and Ecology (IEZ), Rheinische-Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

Reviewer

  • Acta herpetologica
  • Ecology and Evolution
  • Journal of Thermal Biology
  • Salamandra

RESEARCH

Integrative taxonomy of Southeast Asian Snail-Eating Turtles

Based on an integrative taxonomic approach, we examine the differentiation of Southeast Asian snail-eating turtles using information from 1863 bp of mitochondrial DNA, 12 microsatellite loci, morphology and a correlative species distribution model. Our analyses reveal three genetically distinct groups with limited mitochondrial introgression in one group. All three groups exhibit distinct nuclear gene pools and distinct morphology. Two of these groups correspond to the previously recognized species Malayemys macrocephala (Chao Phraya Basin) and M. subtrijuga (Lower Mekong Basin). The third and genetically most divergent group from the Khorat Basin represents a previously unrecognized species, which is described herein. Although Malayemys are extensively traded and used for religious release, only few studied turtles appear to be translocated by humans. Historic fluctuations in potential distributions were assessed using species distribution models (SDMs). The Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) projection of the predictive SDMs suggests two distinct glacial distribution ranges, implying that the divergence of M. macrocephala and M. subtrijuga occurred in allopatry and was triggered by Pleistocene climate fluctuations. Only the projection derived from the global circulation model MIROC reveals a distinct third glacial distribution range for the newly discovered Malayemys species.

Movement patterns of Indotestudo elongata in Cambodia

Movement patterns, home range sizes and habitat use of the Elongated Tortoise, Indotestudo elongata, (Blyth, 1854) was studied in northern Cambodia. Therefore, ten adult tortoises, which had been confiscated from the local illegal trade and kept at a wildlife rescue centre for several years, were fitted with VHF radio tracking transmitters, and released to the Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary at the onset of the rainy season. Between August and December 2009 the tortoises were subsequently located between 41 and 54 times each. An incremental area analysis with a randomized resampling approach with 100 iterations was performed to assess whether home range size estimates reached asymptotes. Computer-simulated random walk models were performed with 'distances of successive locations' and 'turning angles' calculated from obtained radio tracking data to determine whether the studied tortoises performed nomadic movements or exhibited home ranges. Subsequently, seasonal as well as total home range sizes were determined using minimum convex polygon estimators and fixed kernel density estimators.

Feeding ecology of Indotestudo elongata in the wild

The feeding ecology of Indotestudo elongata was assessed through direct observations and faecal sample analyses at the Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary, northern Cambodia and the Cat Tien National Park in southern Vietnam. The species was confirmed to maintain an omnivorous diet comprising terrestrial thin shelled snails, common earthworms, carrion, mushrooms, rice field crabs, and foliage of different plant species. Observations suggest that food items consumed by I. elongata vary according to their seasonal availability.

Effectiveness of reserves for future conservation planning of the Euphrates Soft-shelled Turtle

The Euphrates Soft-shelled Turtle, Rafetus euphraticus, is an endangered tryonchid turtle endemic to the Mesopotamian River Basin in the Middle East. Within recent decades, populations of this aquatic species have been heavily depleted and severely fragmented due to habitat alteration and destruction by drainage and hydroelectricity dam constructions. Presently, ongoing habitat loss and fragmentation are considered the main drivers for the species' population decline. In order to assess whether evolutionary significant units exists, intraspecific genetic variability was evaluated using two mitochondrial gene fragments for 31 specimens covering most of the species' distributional range. In addition, habitat suitability models were computed using a combination of bioclimatic and remote sensing variables as environmental predictors to determine habitat suitability, fragmentation and coverage by designated protected areas across the species' range to ease future conservation measures.

Home range and habitat selection of the endangered Euphrates Softshell Turtle

Movement and habitat selection of the endangered Euphrates Softshell Turtle Rafetus euphraticus (Daudin, 1802) was studied at the Karkheh Regulating Dam Lake in southwestern Iran. Twelve adult turtles were trapped, fitted with VHF radio tracking transmitters, and relocated between 21 and 51 times between May 2011 and July 2012. An incremental area analysis with a randomized resampling approach with ten iterations was performed to determine whether home range size estimates reached asymptotes. Computer-simulated distribution models were applied to assess whether turtles performed nomadic movements or exhibited home ranges. We determined the turtles' linear range sizes, river channel areas, minimum convex polygon home range sizes and kernel density estimator home range sizes. Habitat selection was assessed using a Chi-square goodness-of-fit test with confidence intervals determined using a Bonferroni z-test.

How climate change may affect global chelonian species richness and distribution

Anthropogenic climate change has already led to alterations in biodiversity patterns by directly and indirectly affecting species distributions. Poikilothermic animals, such as reptiles, have been suggested to be particularly vulnerable and large-scale reptile declines have already been observed. Currently, half of the world's freshwater turtles and tortoises are considered threatened with extinction, and climate change may exacerbate these declines. To assess how global chelonian species richness will change in the near future, species distribution models were developed under current climate conditions for 78% of all extant species and subsequently projected onto different Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scenarios for 2080. A strong dependence of temperature shaping most species ranges was detected, which coincides with their general temperature-related physiological traits (i.e., temperature-dependent sex determination). The extent and distribution of the current bioclimatic niches of most chelonians may change remarkably in the near future, likely leading to a substantial decrease of local species abundance and ultimately a reduction in species richness. Future climatic changes may cause the ranges of 86% of the species to contract, and of these ranges, nearly 12% are predicted to be situated completely outside their currently realized niches. Hence, the interplay of increasing habitat fragmentation and loss due to climatic stress may result in a serious threat for several chelonian species.

Quaternary range-shifts of nearctic chelonians

The climatic cycles of the Quaternary, during which global mean annual temperatures have regularly changed by 5-10°C, provide a special opportunity for studying the rate, magnitude, and effects of geographic responses to changing climates. During the Quaternary, high- and mid-latitude species were extirpated from regions that were covered by ice or otherwise became unsuitable, persisting in refugial retreats where the environment was compatible with their tolerances. In this study we combine modern geographic range data, phylogeny, Pleistocene paleoclimatic models, and isotopic records of changes in global mean annual temperature, to produce a temporally continuous model of geographic changes in potential habitat for 59 species of North American turtles over the past 320 Ka (three full glacial-interglacial cycles). These paleophylogeographic models indicate the areas where past climates were compatible with the modern ranges of the species and serve as hypotheses for how their geographic ranges would have changed in response to Quaternary climate cycles. We test these hypotheses against physiological, genetic, taxonomic and fossil evidence, and we then use them to measure the effects of Quaternary climate cycles on species distributions. Patterns of range expansion, contraction, and fragmentation in the models are strongly congruent with (i) phylogeographic differentiation; (ii) morphological variation; (iii) physiological tolerances; and (iv) intraspecific genetic variability. Modern species with significant interspecific differentiation have geographic ranges that strongly fluctuated and repeatedly fragmented throughout the Quaternary. Modern species with low genetic diversity have geographic distributions that were highly variable and at times exceedingly small in the past. Our results reveal the potential for paleophylogeographic models to (i) reconstruct past geographic range modifications, (ii) identify geographic processes that result in genetic bottlenecks; and (iii) predict threats due to anthropogenic climate change in the future.

More about paleophylogeographic modeling and animated models for all Nearctic turtle species can be found here.

Habitat suitability, coverage with protected areas and population connectivity for the Siamese Crocodile

With estimates of fewer than 1000 mature individuals, the critically endangered Siamese Crocodile, Crocodylus siamensis Schneider, 1801 is one of the least known and at the same time most threatened crocodilian species in the world. Populations have already been depleted to approximately 20% of their former size with habitat destruction, alterations, and loss being the main drivers of population declines. To evaluate habitat suitability and coverage by designated protected areas across the species' distributional range habitat suitability models were computed using a combination of bioclimatic and remote sensing variables as environmental predictors. Additionally, population connectivity as well as current and future habitat fragmentation through dam construction was assessed by performing population connectivity models to facilitate future conservation management strategies and prioritization.

Herpetofauna of the Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary, northern Cambodia

Intensive herpetological field research was conducted at the Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary in northern Cambodia between 2009 and 2011. As a result, a checklist comprising 22 species of amphibians and 33 species of reptiles belonging to 44 genera in 22 families was compiled. The checklist includes three species (Ingerophrynus macrotis, Micryletta inornata, Scincella melanosticta) which in Cambodia were formerly known exclusively from the Cardamom Mountains.

PUBLICATIONS

Publications in ‘peer-reviewed’ journals

  • Rahn, A.K., Eßer, E., Reher, S., Ihlow, F., MacColl, A.D.C. & T.C.M. Bakker (accepted) Distribution of common stickleback parasites on North Uist, Scotland, in relation to ecology and host traits. Zoology.
  • Ihlow, F., Courant, J., Secondi, J., Herrel, A., Rebelo, R., Measey, J., Lillo, F., de Villers, A., Vogt, S., Backeljau, T., de Busschere, C., Edwards, S. & D. Rödder (2016) Impacts of Climate Change on the Global Invasion Potential of the African Clawed Frog Xenopus laevis. PLoS ONE, 11(6): e0154869. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0154869
  • Ihlow, F., Dawson, J.E., Hartmann, T. & S. Som (2016) Indotestudo elongata (Blyth, 1854) – Elongated Tortoise. (Intended for Rhodin, A.G.J., Pritchard, P.C.H, van Dijk, P.P., Saumure, R.A., Buhlmann, K.A., Iverson, J.B. & R.A. Mittermeier [eds.] Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises: A Compilation Project of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group. Chelonian Research Monographs No. 5.)
  • Ihlow, F., Vamberger, M., Flecks, M., Hartmann, T., Cota, M., Makchai, S., Meewattana, P., Dawson, J.E., Kheng, L., Rödder, D. & U. Fritz (2016) Integrative Taxonomy of Southeast Asian Snail-Eating Turtles (Geoemydidae: Malayemys) Reveals a New Species and Mitochondrial Introgression. PLoS ONE, 11(4): e0153108. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0153108
  • Ahmadzadeh, F., Flecks, M., Carretero, M.A., Böhme, W., Ihlow F., Kapli, P., Miraldo, A. & D. Rödder (2016) Separate histories in both sides of the Mediterranean: Phylogeny and niche evolution of ocellated lizards. Journal of Biogeography, 43: 1242–1253. doi:10.1111/jbi.12703
  • Slavenko, A., Itescu, Y., Ihlow, F. & S. Meiri (2016) Home is where the shell is: predicting turtle home range sizes. Journal of Animal Ecology, 85: 106-114. doi:10.1111/1365-2656.12446
  • Geissler, P., Hartmann, T., Ihlow, F., Rödder, D., Poyarkov, N.A. Jr., Nguyen, T.Q., Ziegler, T. & W. Böhme (2015) The Lower Mekong: an insurmountable barrier to amphibians in southern Indochina? Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. doi:10.1111/bij.12444
  • Ghaffari, H., Ihlow, F., Plummer, M.V., Karami, M., Khorasani, N., Mahroo, B.S. & D. Rödder (2014) Home range and habitat selection of the endangered Euphrates Softshell Turtle Rafetus euphraticus (Daudin, 1802) in a fragmented habitat in southwestern Iran. Chelonian Conservation and Biology, 13: 202-215. doi:10.2744/CCB-1071.1
  • Hartmann, T., Betts, A.B., De Greef, S. & F. Ihlow (2014) First record of the rare parachute gecko Ptychozoon trinotaterra Brown, 1999 from Cambodia. Cambodian Journal of Natural History, 09/2014: 12-13.
  • Ihlow, F., Rödder, D., Bochynek, T., Sovath, S., Handschuh, M. & W. Böhme (2014) Reinforcement as a conservation tool - assessing site fidelity and movement of the endangered elongated tortoise Indotestudo elongata (Blyth, 1854). Journal of Natural History, 48: 2473-2485. doi:10.1080/00222933.2014.925595
  • Ihlow, F., Bonke, R., Hartmann, T., Geissler, P., Behler, N. & D. Rödder (2014) Habitat suitability, coverage by protected areas and population connectivity for the Siamese crocodile Crocodylus siamensis Schneider, 1801. Aquatic Conservation, 25: 544-554. doi:10.1002/aqc.2473
  • Ihlow, F., Ahmadzadeh, F., Ghaffari, H., Taskavak, E., Hartmann, T., Etzbauer, C. & D. Rödder (2014) Assessment of genetic structure, habitat suitability and effectiveness of reserves for future conservation planning of the Euphrates Soft-shelled Turtle Rafetus euphraticus (Daudin, 1802). Aquatic Conservation, 24: 831-840. doi:10.1002/aqc.2454
  • van Schingen, M., Ihlow, F., Nguyen, T.Q., Ziegler, T., Bonkowski, M., Wu, Z. & D. Rödder (2014) Potential distribution and effectiveness of the protected area network for the crocodile lizard, Shinisaurus crocodilurus (Reptilia: Squamata: Sauria). Salamandra, 50: 71-76. PDF
  • Bonke, R., Ihlow, F., Böhme, W. & D. Rödder (2014) Movement patterns of Tomistoma schlegelii in the Sekonyer Kanan River (Tanjung Puting National Park, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia): preliminary range size estimates. Salamandra, 50: 40-52. PDF
  • Rödder, D. & Ihlow, F. (2013) Chelonians in a changing climate: can nest site selection prevent sex ratio skews? Animal Conservation, 16: 491-492. doi:10.1111/acv.12079
  • Rödder, D., Lawing, A.M., Flecks, M., Ahmadzadeh, F., Dambach, J., Engler, J.O., Habel, J.C., Hartmann, T., Hörnes, D., Ihlow, F., Schidelko, K., Stiels, D. & Polly, P.D. (2013) Evaluating the significance of paleophylogeographic species distribution models in reconstructing quaternary range-shifts of Nearctic chelonians. PLoS ONE, 8(10): e72855. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0072855
  • Hartmann, T., Ihlow, F., Edwards, S., Sovath, S., Handschuh, M. & W. Böhme (2013) A Preliminary Annotated Checklist of the Amphibians and Reptiles of the Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary in Northern Cambodia. Asian Herpetological Research, 4: 36-55.
  • Hartmann, T., Geissler, P., Poyarkov, N.A., Ihlow, F., Galoyan, E.A., Rödder, D. & W. Böhme (2013) A new species of the genus Calotes Cuvier, 1817 (Squamata: Agamidae) from southern Vietnam. Zootaxa, 3599: 246-260. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3599.3.3
  • Ihlow, F., Dambach, J., Engler, J., Flecks, M., Hartmann, T., Nekum, S., Rajaei, H. & D. Rödder (2012) On the brink of extinction? How climate change may affect global Chelonian species richness and distribution. Global Change Biology, 18: 1520-1530. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2486.2011.02623.x
  • Ihlow, F., Geissler P., Sovath S., Handschuh, M. & W. Böhme (2012) Feeding ecology of Indotestudo elongata (Blyth 1853) in the wild in Cambodia and Vietnam. Herpetology Notes, 5: 5-7. PDF

Publications in other journals

  • Ihlow, F. (2013) Geografische Variation der Gelbkopf-Landschildkröte Indotestudo elongata (Blyth, 1854). Testudo, 22: 7-19.
  • Ihlow, F., Handschuh, M. & M. Raffel (2011) Haltung und Nachzucht der Gelbkopf-Landschildkröte (Indotestudo elongata) im Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB), Kambodscha. Marginata, 8(4): 24-30.
  • Ihlow, F. & M. Handschuh (2011) Auswilderung von Indotestudo elongata im Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary im Norden Kambodschas. Marginata, 8(4): 16-23.
  • Ihlow, F. (2011) Kambodscha - ein Königreich der Wunder. Feldherpetologische Arbeit an Indotestudo elongata. Marginata, 8(2): 29-41.
  • Ihlow, F. (2011) Die Schildkrötenfauna Kambodschas. Schildkröten im Fokus, 8(3): 23-35.

PHOTOS

ASIAN BOX TURTLE

Cuora galbinifrons
TCC, Vietnam

TEMPLE TURTLE

Heosemys annandalii
TCC, Vietnam

TEMPLE TURTLE

Heosemys annandalii
TCC, Vietnam

ELONGATED TORTOISE

Indotestudo elongata
TCC, Vietnam

ELONGATED TORTOISE

Indotestudo elongata
Cambodia

SNAIL-EATING TURTLE

Malayemys subtrijuga
Cambodia

BOATING

Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary
Cambodia

SPINY SOFTSHELL TURTLE

Apalone spinifera
Missouri, USA

SNAPPING TURTLE

Chelydra serpentina
Missouri, USA

MAP TURTLE

Graptemys geographica
Missouri, USA

© 2014-2016 Flora Ihlow

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